This Is Not “Exceptional” Spirituality

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By Kelly Christian | Instagram: @kellychristianwrites

In the mornings, I throw my hair into a bun and head towards the kitchen to fuss with the coffee pot. With the sounds of brewing in my waiting ears, I wander around in the morning light, checking to see if my indoor plants are drooping and peeking for where I left the books I’m trying to read snippets of every day. I pour a disproportionate amount of creamer into my favorite dark blue pottery and take a sip. I look around, knowing this moment is different than my spiritual life a few years ago. I used to take my mug and walk the loop of my living room and kitchen with God, able to cry out while the morning was young. Instead, lately, this is where I hesitate blankly and many times I don’t know how to change it.

Things have been quiet with me and God.

There’s not a lot of tension with us. I don’t feel weird knowing God’s around. He visits with me like the husband of a lady deep into her onset of Alzheimer’s. A visit where I stare blankly at the wall or say the same thing for the tenth time before we finish the hardly-there conversation. I don’t gush like I used to or run to God with all my stories. It’s like me and Jesus occasionally get together in these routine moments and I sit by him with my blue mug with mumbled answers and slumped shoulders. I notice his entrance and then go about my things. He’s less like a third wheel and more like a caretaker to someone who needs to be visited every day. Like my spirit fell fast into a bedridden state.

Jesus doesn’t seem irritated. He’s not impatient or prodding. He comes to be by me. And he comes to say things. Things he hopes I’ll remember about us if he keeps saying them to me. He faithfully shows up over and over.

And each time as he goes, he hugs my still-hanging limbs saying, Okay, my love, see you next time. And I turn around and walk inside. This is how it has been with us.

But some days I’ve been in this exact place and snapped out of it by the prick of a divine awakening. The other day I had one of these moments after a long season of blah prayer. I thought I was going to do my morning coffee mutely in the kitchen when my body began walking, my mouth began spilling, and my spirit rushed to the surface. I had a conversation with God I didn’t even know I was going to have, but the grace of God moved me and helped me be present for it.

When this happens, it’s like coming out of a fog I’ve been in for 147 days. A grace of recognition comes over me in this bright connection between me and God. It’s as if the numbness wears off to fierce feelings and all the locked gates to my memories open in a sudden knowing. Sometimes it’s as simple as remembering I love him back. Other times it’s more dramatic as I find myself weeping and amazed and relieved, as I share a beautifully undignified reunion with my Lord.

These up and downs happen with God sometimes. I know they do for me. Sometimes you’re close with God and you feel a lot and everything rings right. Other times the only thing that feels real is what you can touch and see and write an equation for. (If you’re the equation sort.) So, although you may experience God in real and vivid ways in certain seasons, after an unknown amount of time or an unpredictable series of events, you can somehow fall back into a state of sitting with him again.

This doesn’t sound like exceptional spirituality. It sounds like swinging and mostly missing. Perhaps you think this sort of wishy-washy faith should be pitied through offered prayers or polite nods or those gentle pats on the backs of hands.

And yet I want to push aside our concepts of normal growth for a minute to consider the perspective of God concerning my unimpressive back-and-forth.

I’m slow to walk with God. I’m slow to recognize. I’m slow to connect. Yet I feel a kindness with me. Visiting me. Gracing me in these slow seasons of my spirit. This is who God is towards my blank feelings, my lack of interest, my blah praise.

What kind of visitor do we have, who comes again and again, lasting through the human let-downs, thinking it’s totally worth it to be with us in our on-going, unpredictable daze of a one-sided relationship with him? Who looks for every chance—no matter how long it takes—to find another day to steal our hearts and see our eyes shine bright for him again?

God doesn’t demand to know my progress. He doesn’t want to know why I’m not in a good place. Instead, in my withdrawing, God comes. In my giving up, God bears. In my forgetfulness, God lasts.

____________________

About Kelly: 

Kelly Christian is ever reckoning life, always wishful for the next chance to put everything that means anything into type. Her heart is riveted by faith, questions, beauty, creation, identity, and sparks in conversations with strangers and friends alike. Kelly resides in Charlotte, North Carolina where she writes nonfiction, teaches English as a second language, and enjoys loving on her four little dignified souls alongside her husband. You can find snippets of her writing on Instagram and Facebook.

 

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